Thursday, February 1, 2007

cartoons as alter ego


I'm Mannie Gentile. In addition to many other things, I'm a cartoonist.

I've been cartooning, on and off, for over forty years. During that period it was my good luck to latch on to a brand new arts and culture magazine in Grand Rapids Michigan (not necessarily known for either) entitled "Downtown".

Launched in 1984 by a groovy cat named Roger Bruinkool (a local artist) "Downtown" appeared monthly on the streets of Grand Rapids (GR). Noted for smart, diverse writers, and a very hip style, "Downtown was a very new thing for the area, and it took right off. (This original, showing the photo-safe blue lines as well as the original "cut and paste" appeared in 1984)

I drew cartoons for "Downtown" from its first issue, and stayed with it for about eight years (long after it had changed its name to "On-the-Town" to be more inclusive of the advertising dollars from outlying communities). After a long absence I returned very briefly a couple of years ago to do a few final cartoons and reviews for them.

Although a cultural history educator by training, and a park ranger by good fortune, I continue to occasionally do illustration work and cartoons, most recently for the Park Service.

Through this blog I'd like to resurrect some of my older work to give it new legs in this electronic media that didn't even exist at the time the ink was still drying on my drawings.

I did a comic strip "Pembroke" that ran for five years. Little did I know it at the time, but Arthur C. Pembroke was a foreshadowing of Mannie Gentile 15 years into the future, sans ponytail. I was the last one to see the obvious. More on that next time.


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